I was delighted to speak at the launch of the Salvation Army’s 2017 Walkathon to support the important cause of ending modern slavery. The Freedom Partnership is the Salvos’ national initiative to raise money that will go towards mobilising community, business and government to realise their contributions to modern slavery and it will help victims of modern slavery in crisis through the Australian Freedom Fund.
I’ve included my speech transcript below:
Good evening and thank you for inviting me back once again to officially launch this year’s annual Salvation Army Aged Care Plus Sydney Walkathon to support the Salvation Army and its campaign to raise awareness and vital funds for the Freedom Partnership – the Salvation Army’s national initiative to end modern slavery.
I would like to acknowledge and pay my respects to the traditional owners of the land on which we are gathered today, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and to their elders past and present.
I would also like to thank Sharon Callister, Aged Care Plus CEO who has once again invited me to say a few words tonight… I must be doing something right.
Each year I am really pleased to see the progress that the Freedom Partnership has made through their hard work and determination in raising awareness of this important issue, establishing connections with the local community that will raise awareness and result in positive actions.
It is pleasing to see that momentum is gathering in canberra for the introduction of a modern slavery act. As a business owner and independent councillor with the city of Sydney, I believe that proposals related to global and domestic supply chains and the role that companies, businesses and organisations can play in working towards stamping out modern slavery is particularly encouraging.
It was also positive to see the UK’s first independent anti-slavery commissioner visiting Australia in recent weeks to talk at public forums and address the parliamentary inquiry into the establishment of the act. Any chance to raise awareness must continue to be encouraged.
I am very much looking forward to speaking with jenny stanger more to determine how the city of Sydney can take a leadership role in the area of where we source our supplies.
Like many other business owners, I have the welfare of my staff at heart, and I have shared with you before my personal stories of supporting staff that I thought may be at risk.
I believe the next step in getting businesses to think about where they source their goods and services from will again increase awareness of an important issue that is often hidden from sight.
While proposals related to the act apply to larger businesses and organisations, I think that many small businesses will also get on board – after all most of us want to do the right thing.
As many of you know, I have assisted the Freedom Partnershp in the past by facilitating the sponsoring and hosting of 40 professionals across various council areas to help them identify and respond to modern slavery in their environments. The city of Sydney also hosted a forum for international education providers where over 100 private and public education staff discussed issues with international students in our LGA, including exploitation, mental health and accommodation.
My commitment to you tonight is that I will continue to champion the efforts of the Freedom Partnership through new discussions about the city of Sydney’s supply chains sooner rather than later.
In wrapping up, I’m sure that this year’s Walkathon will be a huge success and I wish you all the best for the event.